Music

24 Chinese Pop Songs That Will Make You Homesick

Dust off that old Faye Wong and Jay Chou at Cashbox Karaoke. For C-pop fans in their twenties, nostalgia takes a different tune.

1. The most homesick C-pop songs about homesickness:

2. 齊豫 - 橄欖樹 (1979)

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Chyi Yu - “Olive Tree”

Lyrics written by itinerant prose-poetess San Mao, after she traveled the Saharas.

4. 陶喆 - 今天没回家 (2002)

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David Tao - “I Won’t Be Home Tonight”

6. 順子 - 回家 (1997)

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Shunza - “Going Home”

Some prom queen probably sang this at your high school talent show.

7. Best dude you heard at a bubble tea internet cafe circa Y2K:

8. 周杰倫 - 愛在西元前 (2001)

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Jay Chou - “Love Before The Century”

Remember when Jay Chou was just a gawky producer who wrote catchy low-budget R&B? Before he started getting all glam for his stadium-packing shows?

9. Best theme song for a dynastic crime drama where someone gets decapitated every night:

Judge Bao did not tolerate an ounce of nonsense.

10. Witchiest global star:

11. 王菲 - 但願人長久 (1995)

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Faye Wong - “May We Last Forever”

She sang this cover of Teresa Teng to commemorate her death in 1995, and Teresa Teng herself adapted this song from Song Dynasty poetry. Did you know Faye Wong also collaborated with The Cocteau Twins? And made the theme song for Final Fantasy VIII? And starred in Chungking Express? She’s pretty daringly weird for being China’s most popular pop star.

12. Beachiest Taiwanese pop-punk hooligans:

13. 五月天 - 憨人 (2000)

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Mayday - “Fool”

14. Most likely to be karaoked by your dad, or used in whiskey commercials:

15. 張學友 - 吻別 (1995)

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Jackie Cheung - “Kiss Goodbye”

17. 劉德華 - 忘情水 (1994)

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Andy Lau - “Potion of Forgetting”

18. Most likely to be karaoked by your mom:

19. 鄧麗君 - 月亮代表我的心 (1972)

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Teresa Teng - “The Moon Represents My Heart”

張露 - 給我一個吻 (1968)
Chang Loo - “Give Me A Kiss”

21. Sweetest use of the harmonica at a 7-Eleven:

22. 任賢齊 - 對面的女孩看過來 (1998)

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Richie Ren - “Girl Next Door”

23. Toughest pop star of the 90’s:

24. 張惠妹 - 姊妹 (1997)

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A-Mei - “Sisters”

Originally named Gulilai Amit, A-Mei grew up in an impoverished matriarchal tribe in rural Taiwan, the seventh child of nine, and barely avoided being taken by child services. She somehow became one of Asia’s biggest pop stars of the late 90’s, and of the first aboriginal superstars in Taiwan.

25. Early 00’s indie/post-rock pump-up jam:

甜梅號 (Sugar Plum Ferry) - “No More Soundtrack”

26. Most missed Hong Kong supergroup:

27. BEYOND - 光輝歲月 (1991)

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Beyond - “Era of Light”

28. Waifiest tomboy of C-pop:

29. 孫燕姿 - 開始懂了(2000)

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Stefanie Sun - “Beginning to Understand”

Scouted in Singapore, and then heard everywhere.

30. Filthiest club anthem:

31. MC HotDog feat. 張震嶽 - 我愛台妹 (2006)

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MC HotDog - “I Love Tai-mei”

You likely only heard to this when someone back home sent this to you, but 張震嶽 consistently made the filthiest songs of the early 00’s. This one’s no different.

32. Rowdiest piano/synth-rock matron:

33. Tizzy Bac - 想要得不到 (2001)

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Early favorite of the Fulong Beach summer rock festivals. Surprisingly rowdy shows. A total pastel goth?

34. Most likely to be played in PE class / Saturday morning flag-raising ceremony:

35. 庾澄慶 - 快樂頌 (1992)

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Harlem Yu - “The Happy Song”

36. 90iest thing to ever 90’s:

37. 李玟 - 愛我久一點 (1996)

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CoCo Lee - “Love A Little Longer”

She sang for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” She also sang the ending theme for a Japanese detective show where people kept being murdered in increasingly creative ways, and the young genius slacker detective would kind of just shrug because it was the 90’s.

38. Ahead of his time, but became popular anyway:

39. 羅大佑 - 童年 (1982)

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Lo Da Yu - “Childhood”

40. ABC karaoke mascot:

41. 王力宏 - 唯一 (2001)

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Leehom Wang - “The Only”

Classic karaoke slow-jam for the friend who finds a theatrical flourish after the sixth beer. Also oddly popular for folks learning Chinese (along with 光良’s “童話”). Here’s a rarer demo version of the song.

42. Original 90’s Independent Woman singer-songwriter:

43. 梁詠琪-膽小鬼 (1998)

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GiGi Leung - “Coward”

The 90’s/00’s were a golden age of perpetually sad/angry folksy women whose music videos looked like Instagrams way before Instagram was cool. GiGi’s such a huge figure in Hong Kong that HK indie poppers My Little Airport had to pen a song called “GiGi Leung Is Dead.”

44. Most defining anthem of Tiananmen:

Cui Jian sang to student protesters in Tienanmen Square 24 years ago, and “Nothing To My Name” became the movement’s unofficial anthem. Afterwards, he was able to tour China following a brief government ban, but he gained notoriety for wearing a red blindfold across his eyes whenever he sang this protest song. Often called the “father of Chinese rock.”

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